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in 2010, it has fallen as a political issue. the economy and the rut this country, the anxiety the american people feel has replaced iraq. it is gone. >> and as uncertain as the situation in iraq remains, there is greater uncertainty in afghanistan right now. u.s. officials are deeply worried about the afghan president, hamid karzai. that's it for our special coverage this hour. we'll have a lot more cnn's coverage of the president's historic speech continues right now. >> larry: tonight the u.s. combat mission in iraq is officially over. >> this milestone should serve as a reminder to all americans that the future is ours to share. >> larry: 7 1/2 years of battle, 4,400 american troops among thousands of dead. >> like all americans, i am awed
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by their sacrifice and by the sacrifices of their families. >> larry: was it worth it? now a change of mission. what happens next? what does it mean for the united states and the world next on "larry king live." in a couple moments we'll check in with david axelrod, senior adviser to the president. he's at the white house. first let's get reaction to the address from those in iraq. cnn pentagon correspondent chris lawrence is at camp victory and cnn's arwa damon who is in baghdad. chris, 50,000 troops are still there. what is their role? >> reporter: larry, they are going to be officially called advise and assist troops. they've already started to pretty much transition in a that role for some time. it basically means the roles have flip-flopped so whereas before u.s. troops would roll out of the wire, they would
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stage these operations, they would kick down these doors, they would conduct the raids, the iraqis would be hanging back. now that role has flip-flopped. now it's the iraqis planning the raids. now it's the iraqis going in. the u.s. would be more in a support role coaching them, advising them, being there if needed. if iraqis were conducting an operation the u.s. might be providing air support, capability on the ground. it's sort of the roles have now flip-flopped from leader to follower. >> larry: arwa, you've been in e iraq for years. what are you hearing from the iraqis now that the combat mission is ending, are they a little nervous? >> reporter: they are very nervous, larry. iraqis largely feel helpless. they have little to no control over events in their own country as they're unfolding like they had little to no control over what happened here in the last 7 1/2 years.
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there was euphoria and jubilation with the fall of saddam hussein. that quickly was overcome as violence reached levels of brutality that shocked many in the population. they do realize that right now the responsibility does lie largely with their political leadership. they have been unable to form a new government since iraq's elections back in march. but there are concerns amongst the iraqis about this u.s. draw youp. they don't want to see the american troops here forever but at the same time they do feel that the united states does bear a certain level of responsibility to make sure the situation here is relatively and genuinely stable before america as some iraqis say turns their back on this nation, larry. >> larry: thank you, chris and arwa. let's go to the white house. david axelrod, senior adviser to president obama, is standing by. what was it like for him to make this speech tonight, david? >> well, i think it was a big moment for the country, larry, and the president felt that way. this transfer of authority to the iraqis for the principle responsibility for their security is something he's been
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pointing to from the moment he took office and so it's a big moment for the country. it's a big transition. we have 100,000 troops out of iraq by the end of 2011 they'll all be out and those are resources we can use elsewhere so it's -- it was a big moment and i think he sensed that he wanted to talk to the country about it. and also to pay tribute to our valiant troops. one of the things the president did today was visit ft. bliss in t texas to personally thank the troops and their families for what they've done over the last seven and a half years, the enormous sacrifices. we saw some young people there who did three or four tours of duty in iraq so the sacrifice has been enormous and this is
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their day, too. >> larry: was it a little more difficult, david, in view of the fact he was so opposed to the war to begin with? >> well, i think that he is gratified to be winding the war down and doing it as he promised in a responsible way and so, you know, i don't think he spent the day revisiting old history. yes, he did oppose the war and he did feel that we should be focused on al qaeda in afghanistan but the war came and now the war is ending in the appropriate way with a transfer of authority to a trained up iraqi security force and so i think he's gratified that day has come. >> larry: should the wives and families of the 50,000 remaining be nervous? >> well, look, i think anytime -- anytime your loved one is away and overseas serving
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the country, there's a nervousness associated with that but, look, we believe the iraqi security forces are ready to accept this responsibility. we believe that the political accommodations will be made. we had a good election in iraq. the political process is moving on. we believe that this is moving in the right direction and that our forces will be able to leave the end of next year to a secure -- a very secure situation. obviously there's still a potential for violence in iraq. you see that violence is way down from where it was, way, way down. but there's always that potential. you have to be vigilant about it. >> larry: david, we've spoken often over the years. you're at the white house every day. these troubling times, how is the president dealing with all
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of this? >> larry, i think you asked if these are troubling times, they're troubling times for the american people. there's so much anxiety about the economy. we had a huge hole that we have to climb out of and that's taken, as the president said from the beginning, this is going to take more time than anybody wanted and it's an ongoing effort and part of his message tonight is we have to really focus on that effort and by winding down our effort in iraq that's one barrier we've crossed that frees us up to focus on the primary mission which is to get our economy moving again and we're all intensely focused on that here. we hear from people every day all over the country about their struggles and their concerns and those concerns are our primary concern. >> larry: a couple of other things. what prompted the idea that called former president george w. bush? >> i think the president thought it was an important thing to do
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on this day. they disagreed on the wars the president mentioned. i think this is a day which whether you agreed or disagreed, it was a day to pay tribute to the troops, to reflect on what they've done, and he felt to touch base with the former president let him know exactly how we were proceeding was the right thing to do. >> larry: was it a long conversation? >> i don't think they spoke particularly long, larry, and i'm not going to get into the details of the discussion other than to say it was a cordial discussion. again, i think the presidents, whether they agreed or disagreed, it's a lonely fraterni fraternity. no one understands it but the guys who have sat in that chair. i think on this day the president thought calling the former president was the right thing to do. >> larry: and one other thing, david, with the pullout from iraq, is there some fear that
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this now strengthens iran's hand in that region? >> no, i don't believe so, larry. as you know we're putting increasing pressure on iran through sanctions and by galvanizing the world in support of those sanctions. we believe that iraq -- the sovereignty will be respected and iraq is not going to become a satellite in any way. so we feel that it is in our interests and in the interests of the iraqis to follow through on the agreement we made with them and to begin this process by ending our combat engagement, ending our military engagement at the end of 2011 and we feel that can can be done with some confidence. >> larry: thanks, david, always good seeing you. >> thanks, larry. good to be with you. >> larry: david axelrod, senior adviser to president obama. a couple of iraq war veterans with very different points of view about all this are next.
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tonight i am announcing the u.s. combat mission in iraq is ending. the iraqi people now have lead responsibility for the security of their country. >> larry: we're back. executive director of vets for freedom, a decorated veteran of the war in iraq. john sultz is co-founder of served as a united states army cap tab during operation iraqi freedom. pete, what did you think of his speech and was it time to end this war? >> well, i think it was strong in some points and disappointing in others. the president spoke movingly especially to the end about the service and sacrifice of our troops. there's no doubt about that. he talked about ending the war but also renewed -- he said we
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will renew and continue our commitment to the iraqis and the iraqi government which is great to hear. but it would have been a lot -- it would have been nice for him to acknowledge the surge and the policies that were part of making this outcome possible. he did mention president bush's name, said he was a patriot and loved this country. those are givens. if he wanted to turn the page, he could have said, hey, we disagreed about a lot of things but also the policies that brought about this or the catalyst for the very important moment and the last couple of years of progress. i think that would have been a great step. he did tacitly acknowledge it in comparing the iraq surge to what he's trying to do in afghanistan. he applied that and said the surge in iraq is the model for what we'll do in afghanistan except in afghanistan he in the same breath set a time line in iraq president bush didn't. that's why we had the peaceful 4th stryker brigade. >> larry: john sul it tz, what did you think? >> i wasn't super impressed with the speech. i didn't like the opening line. there's a lot of young americans
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who are still in iraq. troops that are in combat roles that are combat troops and when i went into iraq in 2003 and my first thing that happened to me that night we got ambushed by rbgs and i remember thinking when i finally got into the area we were at, wow, didn't george bush just said the mission was accomplished and combat operations were over? that's a very, very dangerous statement for him to make. if you look in the history of our country and the challenges we faced in beirut and somalia, you have to be very careful that the american public is aware of the dangers that exist for our troops as they move between bases in iraq. i don't like the idea that he says combat operations are over. we're still giving out combat action badges, we're still going to award badges. our troops are getting hazardous -- i didn't did not like the fact it was highly a political speech.
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he didn't tell us a whole lot new. i think it's great he's sticking to the agreement. we need to get the troops out of iraq and i hope he sticks to that plan. >> larry: pete, good point? >> larry, for once i agree with jon on the first point. it's important we emphasize -- the first of all time -- that we emphasize that the combat mission isn't over. he's right. we have combat brigades that have become advise and assist brigades doing similar missions as before. we still have about 5,000 special operators taking the fight. this is not over even though i believe we have won the war in the sense of the surge and dampening down the violence we still have to win the peace and winning the peace will require both a military and diplomatic commitment hand-in-hand. we're drawing down militarily but we need to make sure we keep the eye on the ball and iraqis can take over and that we're making sure we provide every single possible incentive for them to reach political consensus, bring about a new government which can then renegotiate with the united states if we want to have a longer force. our guys are going to face combat.
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no doubt about that. jon is right. >> larry: jon, was the war worth 4,400 lives? >> i don't think it was worth one american life. we went into war on the pretext there were weapons of mass destruction. we had no human intelligence. the pentagon obviously cooked the books with their own intelligence teams that secretary rumsfeld had generated and sold to congress. now if you asked a kurd or shia, they may have a different take. as an american soldier who served there, no, it's a war that never should have been fought. it's a war that's going to continue to be fought. it's not a war the united states started. it's not a war the united states can finish. this is a war we sided on the side of the shia and kurds against the sunni leader saddam hussein. and as we leave i expect iraq to become more violent. we were a cork on the problem. there has been no political settlement. there should be no victory lap and this speech the president gave tonight probably should have waited for another year. as we pull out, violence will increase. our troops have to move a lot of equipment down to kuwait and it's dangerous still. it's a bad situation.
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>> larry: and both of these gentlemen disagreed with parts of the speech and there's still another war going on. we'll talk about that and afghanistan next. [ woman ] nine iron, it's almost tee-time...
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the combat withdrawal is over. you represent the symbolic end of operation iraqi freedom. the last combat brigade in iraq has completed its mission and the u.s. transition is to an advisory and assist role with operation be gone. >> larry: we're back. before we talk about afghanistan, pete, i didn't give you a chance to elaborate on what disappointed you in the speech. >> well, what disappointed me about the speech is that he didn't give credit, i believe, where credit is due. he talked about the last convoy driving out peacefully. he talked about improvements on the street, but he was unwilling to really be gracious and give credit to former president bush
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and say, hey, when times were tough, when folks like himself, when president obama wanted to turn the pamg early in 2006 and 2007, president bush said, no, we're going to stick to the fight, add more troops and change strategy. we did. that's what brought about the opportunity and the stability for us to draw down to 50% troops. i think he could have been more gracious in talking about the surge and the former president. >> larry: jon, the president talked tough tonight about afghanistan. let's listen in and we'll have your respond. watch. >> as we speak, al qaeda continues to plot against us and its leadership remains anchored in the border regions of afghanistan and pakistan. we will disrupt, dismantle and defeat al qaeda while preventing afghanistan from again serving as a base for terrorists. and because of our drawdown in iraq we are now able to apply the resources necessary to go on
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offense. >> larry: jon soltz, in your opinion, is that a certainty? >> really in favor of what's going on in afghanistan right now. the president has changed the mission in afghanistan from a counter al qaeda mission to a counter insurgency mission. base xli a mission now to promote democratization and president karzai. why do it all? he's now up to eight. in reality, the timetable to be effective cannot happen in ten months. he talked about borders, pakistan and afghanistan. the only people in the world who see borders are the united states and western allies. we need a global strategy. we need a footprint in afghanistan much more limited than 120,000 troops. even the cia says there's, what, 100 al qaeda in afghanistan and they're not even very involved in the taliban insurgency. the taliban is a huge issue. politically for him he lost his base on it and that's one of the
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reasons he's trumping up the idea he's getting out of iraq. >> larry: did he? >> i think my point of agreement with jon ends on the time line. jon's right. how do you both surge into afghanistan and tell the enemy when you're going to leave in 2011? that is an albatross. we're hearing it from commanders, insurgents and local, regular folks in afghanistan. they know we're leaving and so they're hesitant to side with us. this isn't a nation building exercise. this is capacity building. the president talked about it. it's the same language president bush used in iraq. we want to build the space and time and allow afghanis to defend their own borders and protect their own population. this is a limited mission. it's something we can achieve. the strategy is correct. we may need more troops to do it and we're certainly going to need more time than july 2011. that will be president obama's decision point where he really defines whether he's a wartime commander willing to do what's
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necessary to win on the ground, whether or not he'll give the troops the time and resources they need to take the fight to al qaeda and the taliban and pacify a very dangerous region by allowing afghanis to defend it themselves. >> larry: jon, 30 seconds, agree or disagree? >> i obviously disagree with that. the president should realize there's no way to conduct the counter insurgency, our rising unemployment, we can't sustain a long-term counter insurgency and take afghans from the 16th century to the 17th century with the problems we have in this country. we need a flexible strategy that meets the intelligence threat. we have to get out of the nation building business. that's where he's taking us. >> larry: pete hegseth and jon solts both will be back as we've always said they make for intriguing television. we'll talk more about the cost of this war with our panel of experts next. welcome to the world of lovaza, where nature meets science.
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>> larry: very interesting guests join us, dan senor, spokesperson for the coalition provisional authority in iraq, was a senior adviser to paul bremer and former policy adviser to president george w. bush. is currently senior fellow at the council on senior relations. michael hastings, contributing editor of "rolling stone." his profile led to the ouster of general stanley mcchrystal. the author of "i lost my love in baghdad." john avalon is a cnn contributor, contributor to and author of "wing nuts." let's start with dan senor and the obvious, what did you think of the speech? >> i was underwhelmed, larry. i thought he made many important points particularly about how regardless of what one thinks about the decision to go in iraq, iraq is a better place today for the iraqi people and
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better for american security. americans are more secure because of where iraq is today. i thought the speech tonight was too focused on why we're leaving, the withdrawal, who deserves much of the credit and the troops deserve most of the credit but also general odierno, general petraeus, president bush's surge strategy which not only president obama remained committed to even though he was oppose ed opposed to it, americans learned a lot of lessons and counter insurgency the last couple of years in the war which i would say president obama was able to give the speech he did tonight because of that strategy and so i thought in that sense it was a little ungracious. >> larry: michael, he was underwhelmed, were you? >> i think it's much easier to turn the page on the iraq war if you live in washington, d.c., than if you live in baghdad.
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the idea the war is over, it might be winding down for america but if you look at the last three months in iraq, nearly 1,000 iraqi civilians killed and 1,500 u.s. soldiers who died. there's a dog and pony show going on and this idea we've left behind something in baghdad other than a very shaky government that saddam hussein liked, the two leading contenders for the prime minister job rely on their role as kind of strong men, i think we're kidding ourselves. so as president, of course he had to sort of come out and say he was proud of the troops and i'm sure he is, but i think we'll be making a grave mistake if we think the iraq war is really over. >> larry: john, what did you think of the speech? john avalon? >> i thought it was a strong and decisive speech directly to the domestic audience. one of president obama's great auch sess has been that he's managed to depo larize one of the most divisive debates in the last decade. just by moving forward in iraq, by building off the success of the surge, he's been able to really bring, i think, an
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honorable end to this war and do it in a way that honors president bush's successes and recognizing that the patriots on both sides of the issue in the past. economics was an election year message and didn't fit the context of the speech. now as he said our combat time may be ending but our commitment continues and afghanistan is, of course, still an ongoing concern for all of us. >> larry: dan, the public opinion polls pretty much support the president on this move tonight. do you agree? >> oh, absolutely, which is why i think the speech i would have hoped he would have given would have probably been a tougher speech. politically for him to give, i mean, one of the things that concerned me about it is he indicated that he was -- by his actions he indicated he would provide security -- something many in iraq have been curious about, many in our military have been curious about, what happens after a year from now when we are really fully out by the end
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of 2012, are we that wedded to this agreement that we're not going to provide any basic security issues for the iraqis? every time the major withdrawals from american occupations over the last half century is really the quintessential model where we to one extreme have troops still there but we provide basic security assurances. i can't emphasize enough why this is so important. one of two things could happen in iraq going forward. one is it becomes a glorified province of iran and basically subservient to eiran or the iraqis feel there is no one there to protect them and they go ahead and build an army of saddam-era, a military that's not just there to defend its own borders but has the capacity to wreak havoc on the region.
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i think, and let me make chriscal tal clear regardless of the exit deadline of december of 2011, we will provide the assurances, keep resources on the ground if need be in order to give the iraqis the security they can build from within and not have to -- and not have to start cutting deals with the players. >> larry: michael, is there a general, do you think, pessimism about all of this? >> well, i spent -- i took a number of trips to iraq this past year and i can just give you a couple quotes from what the iraqis told me. one said that we used to have one saddam and now we have 1,000 saddams. another said that during the elections that -- an iraqi election official told me 99% in the iraqi election office would have voted for saddam when he was on the balance will the and i think it's fair enough to have questions. if you live in baghdad and even if it's once a month 140 people are being blown up outside your doorstep it's hard to put too happy a face on that. one of the sort of talking points i've heard throughout the night is this idea president
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obama should have been more gracious and thanked president bush. i think that notion is somewhat absurd. the iraq war by most estimates was one of the most catastrophic decisions the united states has made. to think president obama is going to thank him for doing that seems silly. >> i'm not suggesting that -- >> larry: john, where do you stand in this difference? >> i look back to colin powell's pottery barn, you buy it you break it. there are no re-dos. history moves in one pace. president obama inherpted the situation which is vastly improved from 2006. look, we're a republic not an empire. we need to draw down our troops. the troops aren't going to disappear at the end of this agreement. we have 3,000 troops in korea. that war has been over for 60 years. having engaged this war we can all have honorable disagreements
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about the context, the pretext and whether or not it was a good idea. the reality is we're there. we have an interest in ensuring its esuccess. that is in our interests, in the interests of honoring the dead and those who sacrificed their lives today. >> larry: are you optimistic about the outcome here? >> i want to respond to something michael said. this was president bush's war but it was also a war supported by virtually every person, senior foreign policy official in president obama's administration, hillary clinton, joe biden, richard holbrooke -- >> larry: when they thought there were weapons of mass destruction, though. >> this is a war that america engaged in and had support from across the political spectrum. and in 2006, the degree to which we were so close as michael knows firsthand, the degree to which we were so close to defeat at the end of 2006, we really were on the cusp of complete
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collapse, everyone was advising president bush to just cut his losses and get out. everyone. the pentagon, the cia, the congress, including republican members of congress were urging president bush to pull back. members of his father's administration were counseling this. the baker-hamilton commission. we can go down the list. and he basically took a decision that just about only he and general petraeus actually advocated for, which was this surge strategy. i think americans learned a lot from this dramatic transformation our foreign policyholders in iraq, the model for our war strategy in afghanist afghanistan. president obama has kept on president bush's defense secretary, kept on his centcom commander. the degree to which president bush's foreign policy over the last couple of years has lived on and served as the basis for this administration's war strategy is not inconsequential and some sort of acknowledgement of that is what i would suggest. >> larry: michael, in metretrost
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we wouldn't go there tomorrow, would we? >> i hope not. dan has put his neck on the line in his time in iraq as well. i think though the eidea the surge, okay, president bush got 17 months of the war, we're right, half right at least. we still haven't come out with a decision. that's not very likely. the question is what lessons should we draw from our experience in iraq and dan is also right to say one of the lessons we've drawn so far is to try to repeat that somewhat successful action in afghanistan:and i think that's already where we're drawing the wrong lessons from history. >> larry: we'll talk about costs here. pediatrician recommended pain reliever for children. plus, children's advil® brings fever down faster than children's tylenol®. choose children's advil®. relief you can trust.
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>> larry: john avlon, what about this hardly mentioned or not mentioned at all tonight, what about the costs of all of this?
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>> well, by some estimates a trillion dollars to date. that's just the financial costs, of course. and as president obama made the point, the simple decision of going into iraq had enormous consequences not only financial but i think we recognize now in terms of a lack of focus and attention on afghanistan. i think the other cost really is the unity of the country. i think we forget the country was deeply unified after september 11th and through afghanistan to dislodge the taliban and go after al qaeda and osama bin laden. the decision to go into iraq which in retrospect appears as an optional war and that will have its own ramifications in u.s. history, that decision divided the kun at this decount put us in a more controversial position than we've been in recently. there still is the hope
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continuing through afghanistan to try to build a better future, to take all the right lessons out of both these wars, to recognize we still are in a larger war and because these wars are long, i think sometimes we forget the constant sacrifice and the importance on making sure that our investment turns into something of lasting value in future generations. >> larry: we have many guests so we have run out of time. we'll have all three of you back. this was really interesting viewing. we'll be right back with shoshanna johnson, a former member of the army, held as a p.o.w. for a while, author of a book called "i'm still standing." the morning is over, it's time for two more pills. the day marches on, back to more pills. and when he's finally home... but hang on; just two aleve can keep arthritis pain away all day with fewer pills than tylenol. this is steven, who chose aleve and 2 pills for a day free of pain. and get the all day pain relief of aleve in liquid gels.
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♪ >> larry: shoshana johnson, who made it back, will be with us in a couple of moments.
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let's spend them with anderson cooper hosting "ac 360" at the top of the hour. more follow-up to the speech, i would guess. >> we'll definitely discuss the president's speech on iraq, the end of combat operations there, what's next for the people of iraq. also tonight and what we're leading with is the controversy about a mosque being built. this time it's hundreds of miles away from ground zero in murphysboro, tennessee. people are angry about the mosque claiming it's fomenting radicalism. the members say they are victims of terrorism. you'll hear from both sides tonight. a majority of republicans now believe president barack obama, quote, sympathizes with the goals of islamic fundamentalists who want to impose islamic war around the world, that according to a new poll in "newsweek." we told you numerous times on this broadcast the president is a christian, so why is the belief he's a muslim persist? we'll have raw politics with a panel on the left and the right. those stories and a lot more on the hurricane due to come some time this friday or this
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weekend. >> larry: that's "ac 360" at 10:00 eastern, 7:00 pacific. shoshana johnson, former member of the u.s. army in 2003, she and other members of the military unit were captured and held as p.o.w.s for 22 days, she's the author of "i'm still standing." she's in el paso, texas. shoshana, thanks for joining us. what was your reaction to the speech? >> well, i, unfortunately, didn't get to listen to the whole speech. there's a lot going on in town because the president was here. but i did hear some points of it. i'm just glad our men and women are starting to come out of iraq and being able to spend time home with their families. >> larry: 4,400 killed, 30,000 wounded, was it worth it? >> i think people have a misconception of how the army works. this is not a situation that people join the military to
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fight this specific conflict like they did in world war ii or the civil war. you put on the uniform for the men and women who are in the united states to protect them. this conflict just came up and we did the job as best as we could. what it it comes down to as an american, you have to ask yourself, is the sacrifice these men and women do every single day worth it? i worth it? and i definitely think that the american people are worth my sacrifice and i would do it all over again for them. >> larry: what are your worries about the 50,000 troops still there? >> i don't have any specific worries. i think, you know, we have an outstanding military. they can hold their own. i just think it's time for the iraqi people to take care of themselves. it's just like when you're a parent teaching your child how to ride a bicycle, you have to step back, let them wobble, fall down. eventually they get it on their own and you can step away.
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this is the process going on in iraq right now. we're beginning to step away. >> do you know many troops who have this posttraumatic stress disorder? >> yes, i do. a lot of my comrades do including myself. it's very difficult to deal with at-home life after you've been in thebattlefield, especially for some soldiers who have been in theater two and three times. but i know with support and a lot of therapy, you know, you can overcome these things. i think i'm doing extremely well, considering. but it's not without help. and it's hard after being a soldier and being learning how to suck it up and dry bar to accept that you need someone to help you out. and i hope the american people, if you see them, a soldier, any man or woman in uniform that you feel needs a helping hand, you know, after they sacrificed so much for you, that you extend a hand to help them out.
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>> larry: shoshana will be right back with us along with a bronze star winner and his family. don't go away. what did you miss most when
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you were so far away? >> mainly my wife and kids. >> you ask them what he does and he'll tell you, my daddy's a superhero. >> yeah, daddy! daddy! daddy! >> larry: shoshana johnson remains, joining us is united states lieutenant mark sholf returned from his first deployment in iraq, platoon lead somewhere awarded bronze star. heather is his i've. they have two children, maggie, 3, taylor, 2, and expecting a third child in january. is there any significance, heather, to those dresses that the girls are wearing?
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>> yes, sir. actually, they are one of his old uniforms, actually i spent about a week tearing them apart just so i could have the fabric to make them. >> larry: it's adorable. >> they like them, as a matter of fact. thank you very much. >> mark, did you watch the speech, lieutenant? >> yes, sir, i did. >> larry: what did you make of it? >> i thought it was very well outlined. he's a great speaker, of course, you know, being the president and watching the campaigns before. i think that we've done things that he set out to do and when he ran for his presidency. i thought it was a very well laid out speech. >> larry: do you think of anything of your service at all when you think, mark, it was in vain? >> no, sir. the whole reason that i joined the military was to serve my country and to serve my family, you know, we do it for them.
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we do it for the american people. i don't think anything that we did is anything in vain. i think that it's something that we should be proud of as americans, as a people. >> larry: well said. health, has the return been at all difficult? >> no, sir. actually, it's been -- it's kind of just like riding a bike. you just -- you get back to doing it and you get back to family life. it's actually been really refreshing. >> larry: what did you win the bronze star for, lieutenant? >> the platoon leader, operating in our city, where we are at, where we partnered with the iraqi security forces, the iraqi army and iraqi police, we went out and partnered with them, trained them on, you know, different techniques, and that's what the award was for.
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>> larry: shoshana what do we know people like lieutenant shoaf? >> everything. you know, simply going out in the middle of the day or even in the middle of night to go to the store, we take those little things for granted without realizing that every day a sacrifice is being made so we can do those things. you know, it's so nice to hear that he's back with his family, you know, doing so well. but, you know, sometimes it's hard to hear. i think sometimes people don't understand that it's a little different as a female coming home and switching from that warrior role to that mother role or even a wife role and dealing with the aspects of how people treat you. i definitely want to thank him for his service and all that he continues to do for our country. >> larry: lieutenant, can you be deployed again? >> yes, sir. you know, as the president
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commander in chief, if he decides to send us to any location in the world, that's my job, is to go and protect the american people and serve our country. >> larry: heather, do you worry about that that they might go over again? >> i -- i mean, you worry every time they deploy, but i'm very proud of the fact that that's what he does. the men and women that serve our nation do this voluntarily and it's something that i'm very proud of. i'm not going to say that the worry doesn't ever go away because it's a real fear that maybe one day you're going to get the call that your husband or your wife or someone's son or daughter isn't coming home. but you can let that rule your life. >> larry: are you going to have another child in january, a boy or girl? >> another little girl.
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>> larry: hey, mark, what's going on? >> i actually do want a boy, sir. i played sports and stuff so i'd like a little boy. but you know, girls are wonderful, i've got two beautiful daughters and a beautiful wife. i'm sure this daughter will be just as beautiful. >> larry: well, stay home long enough to have a boy. thank you, shoshana johnson and mark and heather shoaf. we want to remind you of the people of pakistan. they are in desperate need as a result of catastrophic flooding there. angelina jolie would like you to help. watch. >> one-fifth of pakistan is under water. thousands of people died in the initial flooding and the threat of disease now looms for 20 million affected people. this is not just a humanitarian crisis, it's an economic and social ka as it froe fi. the u.n. is on the ground. the more

Larry King Live
CNN August 31, 2010 9:00pm-10:00pm EDT

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TOPIC FREQUENCY Iraq 33, Ni Hao 12, Us 12, Bush 11, U.s. 10, United States 9, Obama 8, Baghdad 5, Pakistan 4, Peggy 4, Ellen 4, Shoshana Johnson 4, David Axelrod 3, Lovaza 3, Heather 3, America 3, Jon 3, Michael 3, Cnn 2, John 2
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